After winning another division championship by going 59–23 the following year, the Kings lost Webber to a knee injury in the playoffs. He required major knee surgery and he was never the same. Neither were the Kings.
Without Webber, the Kings fell to the Mavericks during the 2003 playoffs. .
Eventually C-Webb and his “fab 5” in Sacramento dispersed. Webber is now an on-air personality for NBA broadcasts, Peja is a shell of his former self in Dallas, Bibby has been relegated to spot-up shooter waiting for LeBron and Wade’s kickouts. At least Mr. Christie is still making good cookies.
Since then the Kings’ success has dwindled significantly. They have missed the playoffs every year since 2007 and have become the Pacific Division’s bottom dwellers.
The fans’ interest has also declined along with the Kings.
This year, Sacramento has hit rock bottom: with budget deficits and heavy job losses during the economic downturn, the Maloof brothers began exploring different options.
It’s likely the Sacramento Kings will be no more. A move to Anaheim seems imminent.
Some, including Lakers’ head coach Phil Jackson, are heavily opposed to the Kings relocating.
“What other metropolitan area has three teams in it? It’s ridiculous to put another franchise in this market,” Jackson said before a March 27 game against the Los Angeles Clippers. “It just doesn’t make sense to do that.”
I agree with the Zen Master but for a different reason.
I don’t care how the Kings re-locating to Anaheim will affect the share of the Lakers’ television deal or merchandise sales. As a fan, that means nothing to me. I’m sure the Orange-County will continue to support the Lakers despite having a team closer to them. Southern California is Laker-land, always have been and always will be.
The city of Sacramento deserves better than this. The Kings are the only major sports team they have. When the Maloof brothers constructed one of the most entertaining products the league has ever seen, the fans were there ringing their cowbells every single night.
Sports is the only business that expects the consumer to continue to purchase the product regardless of its quality. Well, the city of Sacramento wasn’t going to buy into a team that had no hope of making the playoffs.
Their current team is comprised of Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and a guy who comes off the bench named Jeter who’s unrelated to Derek. Sure, second-year shooting guard Marcus Thornton has averaged 20.8 points since arriving in a midseason trade from New Orleans. But are any of those players the Kings can build a franchise around? Only time will tell.
It’s sad to see the Kings leave Sacramento, especially since Sam Presti and the Thunder have laid out a blueprint on how to run a successful franchise in a small-market.
What’s even more saddening is that the great fans of Sacramento are down to their last 48 minutes of basketball to cheer for.
Appropriately, it’s against the team’s most celebrated rival, the Los Angeles Lakers.[phpbay]Lakers Swingman, 3, “”, “”[/phpbay]